I am from Mexico and moved to America and what I found is that the normal in America is to be stupid. The grand majority are just plain stupid, now I compared it to Mexico (I lived in city and in 'high/educated' people (I put it in ' ' because the reality is that is relative) and the normal was to be stupid too, now don't get me started in the 'poor' areas). So, my question is: Are people stupid in general or culture, nationality, social class, play a bigger role? If so, why are there more stupid than intelligent?

*Note: When I refer to stupid or intelligent I am refering to the kind that Socrates meant, that the wise men were the ones who accepted ignorance and worked on it, the stupid were the ones who didn't care or thought they were intelligent.

** I don't feel intelligent or superior, but I try to be reasonable always.

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Haha, mensa means stupid in spanish.

The only requirement for joining Mensa is to score in the 98th percentile on an intelligence test (and this can include the SAT and ACT).

Unfortunately high scores on an IQ test (you only need to manage it once, so I imagine something like 5% of the people have had a good day at least once and pulled it off--to say nothing of different emphases on different tests might "resonate" better with different people) doesn't correlate with someone actually doing critical thinking.  The local Mensa group fell under the sway of a new ager and all of the meetings ended up being about crystal power, etc.

I like to joke that Mensa has a sister organization called "Densa" for people who score in the bottom 2 percent.

Having worked with the San Diego Special Olympics, I don't find your joke all that amusing.

Believe me I've only told it in circumstances where people (including me) are not in fact thinking of the truly disabled.  The target of this sort of comment on my part was more along the lines of George W. Bush, or many other politicians, or some fundie blowhard, or Dilbert's Pointy Haired Boss (or his real-life clones).
Nevertheless your point is well taken and I'll put that one in the circular file as of right the fuck now.

Easy easy easy.... It was not meant to denigrate, it was simply humor. I too have a son who is somewhat less intellectually capable than most. He is called a retard, a dummy and so on, but he is also one of the greatest people I know. he has a simple open kindness and the ability to make happiness flow from beneath rocks.  A genuinely wonderful person, just not as intellectually capable as others. I am not offended by jokes like StevelnCO provided, but don't call my son a retard to his face or you may find 260 pounds in a six foot four inch frame sitting on your face and "Learnin' you some manners".  Otherwise it's so minor as to be inconsequential.

An aggressively metered insult is usually not the intent. So have a bit of peace and realize the world is not out to insult those great folk at the Special Olympics. Love them and assist as you obviously are . . . and smile more.    

Supposedly, the highest score you make on an IQ test is the "LEAST" that your IQ is supposed to be.


You claim: "The Highest score you make on an IQ test is the least your IQ is supposed to be"

Uhh, not quite, or should I be more direct and say not at all. The typical IQ test it is one of the worst and most meaningless methods of determining intellectual capacity, but it does provide a rough guide. IQ numbers from standardized tests are nearly useless today. Psychometric tests are a capable measure, but those comprehensive areas are not well arrived at through the common Stanford-Binet test you took in school.

Determining IQ with any accuracy is difficult. Accuracy involves a comprehensive and evaluative study that includes dozens of what may seem unassociated areas you might not enjoy puzzling through. Also, it can take days to weeks to achieve a factual accuracy in some cases.  

But in any case the highest score you make on an IQ test is not the least your IQ is supposed to be. It could also be the result of favorable guessing, and the highest score you will receive, while your factual and accurate IQ is actually much lower.

Before anyone takes an on-line IQ test and gets fooled by inaccurate testing methodologies (that's being kind as most lack any association with reality)  I have spent weeks examining on line tests and I find them seriously lacking.  I am a psychologist with a PhD, I do know something, but not everything and like everyone I can be incorrect, however not on this subject.       

I think we should differentiate between someone who is 'genuinely' stupid and someone who is uneducated. The latter may have had certain factors in their life (e.g. economic) that prevented them from getting a decent education.  (Edit: having re-read your post and your reference to what Socrates meant, I think the definition of stupidity can be expanded to cover many others including 'educated' people!).

Also, if the above is read in the context of atheists' relationship with the rest of society, then it is worth bearing in mind that in many cultures, otherwise intelligent and very reasonable people, usually differentiate between the naturalistic and spiritual realms. Of course, as an atheist I only subscribe to a naturalistic view of the universe, and consider references to spiritual stuff to be just mumbo jumbo. So yes, technically and from this perspective, you can view people as stupid. But let's be careful so as not to be perceived as arrogant. The best we can do is to educate people in the natural sciences and make them appreciate the scientific method and the crucial role of statistics.

Good comment Hathal. Well stated!

It seems like the case here in Canada as well...

well america is known to have the worst maths and science education out of all first world countries, when you accept that fact, does it really surprise you that 80-90% of americans are Christian Theists? that means that basically 80-90% of americans are the kind of people who just follow the crowd like a flock of sheep rather than being intelligent enough to think for themselves.

This is truly depressing.  What's a person to do about this?  I am sure there are initiatives to counter this on national and state levels, but what can the individual do besides supporting these initiatives and making sure that his or her children receive adequate science and math education?  Beyond that, it seems like one Sisyphean task among a multitude of others.



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